The Garter Brides — Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl, and Tish Rabe — have interviewed countless women for our book, LOVE FOR GROWN-UPS: The Garter Brides’ Guide to Marrying For Life When You’ve Already Got a Life, and have asked our thousands of Facebook fans to share their experiences and advice for a successful online ‘first’ date. We compiled this list and would love to hear from you, too!
Good old fashioned contact
Make sure that all your contact hasn’t been over email before your first meeting. There is something compelling about hearing someone’s voice. It gives you a feel for the person and is less detached than email. You are looking for an in-person relationship! Also, let him know texting is no way to communicate with you. Need we say more? If a man is texting like he’s a teenager, let him know he should pick up the phone! You can’t get to know someone in 148-character messages.
ALWAYS let someone close to you know who you are going out with and where you’ll be going. One woman said she always texts a friend and leaves the phone number of where she’ll be on the kitchen counter.
Have a plan
Decide what you want to do on the first date. Some Garter Brides have shared with us that they are more comfortable doing something active on the first meeting. We feel that that’s a little risky time wise because if it’s not working, you might feel trapped. Now, on the second date it’s a really good idea. Go to an exhibit, hear some jazz, hit some golf balls – you’ll both feel less nervous and will have more to talk about.
Keep things short & sweet
Keep the first date to an hour. Even if you have to pretend to have another appointment or need to be home at a certain hour – do that. Remember the adage “Leave ’em wanting more?” It’s true! If there’s chemistry there, you can spend more time on the second date getting to know each other.
Be ready for the first date! Make sure you look your best. Look tastefully sexy. It will boost your confidence and allow you to relax and focus on meeting someone new.
Take it slow
Don’t get to know one another by re-hashing your history. You may be furious with your ex, and as much as we know it’s important to vent all this stuff, don’t do it on a first date. He has a history too and he’s probably got some unhappy stories as well, but playing therapist or sounding board to one another is not a good start. Keep your bashing for your girlfriends. And don’t let him unload on you about his ex. A good way of handling an awkward moment is saying something like, “Telling each other stories about our exes won’t change anything and I’d rather know more about you.”
Ditch the gadgets
Put any and all electronics on vibrate. If you have a babysitter and need to know if you get a call, let him know that. Put the phone on vibrate so you can check it, but whatever you do, don’t answer it unless it’s an emergency.
Let him down easy
If you really feel there is no chemistry after your first meeting, let him know. You’d want to know how he feels about you. The Garter Brides are fans of giving everyone a second date chance (no one has first date jitters on the second date!), but, if you know it will go nowhere, be a grown-up. Tell him that you don’t feel this is a good fit for you and wish him the best. Yes, that’s hard to do, but you’d want to know if he felt that way and not continue to have expectations that won’t be met.
Remember, everyone you meet is looking for the same thing you are – someone to have a fulfilling, fun and romantic relationship with! One date can change your life!